In our previous discussion we reviewed the original philosophy behind PCGS’s "no grading" of problem coins, and how subsequent developments in the marketplace modified that policy to begin slabbing problem coins with a "details" grade. As a result, there are now numerous slabbed coins in the market which bear a "Genuine" call, along with an adjectival grade describing the details present on the coin.
Coins can end up in this category due to a multitude of reasons, ranging from comparatively mild (cleaning) to quite severe (holed). Coins which fail to make a numerical grade fall into two broad categories:
- Those coins which we can put into holders.
- Those coins which we cannot put into holders.
Since it’s a smaller category, and easiest to understand, we’ll begin this week with the second group — coins which we cannot holder. These fall into five categories:
- Code 83 – Peeling Lamination
Coins with a peeling lamination cannot be holdered, as in the process of sonic sealing, it is very possible for the lamination to become detached from the coin. A lamination is a planchet defect originating when a portion of the coin metal separates from itself due to impurities or internal stresses. Lamination flaws occur primarily when foreign materials or gas oxide become trapped within the planchet.
- Code 99 – PVC Residue
PVC is a plasticizer used to produce vinyl coin holders. Over time, PVC leaches out of these holders and will eventually damage the surface of the coin. PVC is seen as small green specks or a slimy green film. PCGS will not seal a coin with PVC, as it is likely to worsen over time and do further damage to the coin.
- Code 86 – Authenticity Unverifiable
PCGS spends a great deal of time examining coins that have been harshly cleaned, corroded and or tooled. PCGS must be able to positively determine that a coin is both genuine and has not been "holed and plugged." In some situations the surface of the coin is completely destroyed, and in these instances PCGS will not render an opinion on the coin. Many counterfeit coins are harshly altered or intentionally damaged in an attempt to fool the grading services. If a coin is worn or damaged to an extent that makes it impossible to identify the date, mint mark, or variety, an Authenticity Unverifiable will be issued. A counterfeit call is only made on coins which we are certain of known diagnostics.
- Code 90 – Counterfeit
The coin is either a known counterfeit or exhibits characteristics of known counterfeits. This category includes otherwise genuine coins which have been altered to simulate rarities (re-engraved dates, added mintmarks, removed mintmarks, etc.).
- Code 96 – No Service
This is simply reserved for coins which we do not presently grade, such as hammered (medieval) coins, cast coins, ancients or certain tokens and medals. This category changes over time, and we may someday add certain coins which we do not presently grade.
Next time we will begin our look at coins which we can put into holders.